News24

According to Google I wasn't in SA - Hewitt

2015-02-17 20:09

Johannesburg - Australian-born former Grand Slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt had an alibi for the time period during which he allegedly raped Suellen Sheehan, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, heard on Tuesday.

Hewitt said he had done a Google search and found he had been in Paris or London around the time Sheehan alleged he raped her.

Terry Price, for Hewitt, recalled his client to the stand following testimony from Sheehan's parents.

While Sheehan could not provide the date when the alleged rape occurred, she testified that Hewitt raped her in his car before tennis practice just before her 13th birthday in June 1982.

Between 24 May and 4 July 1982, Hewitt said he had been commentating on the Wimbledon tennis tournament overseas. His co-anchor Jan Snyman could vouch for him, Hewitt said.

Hewitt is on trial for the rape of two of his former students, namely Theresa Tolken and Sheehan in the 1980s, and the sexual assault of a third, who may not be named, in the 1990s. He has pleaded not guilty. He gave tennis lessons to the girls.

On Tuesday, the court heard evidence from two journalists who interviewed Sheehan in 2011.

Shaun Gillham of the Weekend Post testified that Sheehan told her Hewitt sexually assaulted her when she was 9. Gillham no longer had the notes he took from the telephonic interview with Sheehan.

He reported that he had been informed that Hewitt had Alzheimer's disease. In an interview with Hewitt he did not question him about this. He said this point was kept in his story as it "added colour".

A second journalist, Charmaine Slater of the Bedfordview and Edenvale News, testified that Sheehan told her Hewitt raped her when she was 11.

After telling the court she exclusively relied on her notes to compile the article, it emerged that not all the quotes she used were in her notes. Slater said she relied on her notes and her memory.

Both journalists said Sheehan never contested the contents of the articles.

Misquoted

Testifying last week, Sheehan said she was sometimes misquoted by the media.

Her parents, Judy and Michael Sheehan, from whom she was estranged, testified on Tuesday.

Sheehan had said she tried to tell her parents of the rape, but her mother dismissed her claims.

Judy Sheehan denied any knowledge of the rape prior to reading about it in newspaper articles in 2011.

"If this had happened, this case would have happened some 30 odd years ago," she said.

She said their daughter physically and verbally abused them and had claimed to police that her father had raped her.

Sheehan had suggested she would lay sexual harassment complaints against a boss of hers who she was having trouble with, her mother told the court.

Judy Sheehan said their relationship collapsed after she and her husband cut off financial help to Sheehan when she turned 40.

They had disagreements about Sheehan's son Michael, now 21, whom Sheehan accused of taking drugs.

Michael said he had asked his daughter about the allegations concerning Hewitt. She told him Hewitt had looked down her breasts.

"I said it may have happened at 12, but you are 41 now. What can you do about it? Get over it," Michael Sheehan told the court.

Prosecutor Carina Coetzee said this could have prevented Sheehan from going into more detail about what had happened.

Comments
  • Travis Palm - 2015-02-17 20:25

    This girls own parents have called her out for cry rape(wolf). All credibility has been lost because of it.

  • Travis Palm - 2015-02-17 20:25

    This girls own parents have called her out for cry rape(wolf). All credibility has been lost because of it.

  • Jan van Niekerk - 2015-02-17 20:32

    It's interesting how the case seems watertight until you start looking at specifics.

      Marlene Black - 2015-02-18 06:21

      Why not examine his passports?

      Rodney Bevan - 2015-02-18 12:34

      Really? Because his passport from that time would have been destroyed a long time ago, they don't store old passports.

  • Phillip Marchant - 2015-02-17 21:06

    No matter the outcome, this is a job done. Well done to those women who have taken courage in seeking justice, giving courage to those who may also need to free themselves from the burden of past abuse, and protect society as a whole, against creeps such as this.

      Frank - 2015-02-17 21:45

      marchant, another twit who can not wait for the court to rule. And who up until just now thought Google was just the greatest. Now he thinks that Google tells big fibs.

      Peet Botha - 2015-03-23 13:21

      Why wait 30 plus years a lot of bull

  • Louise Cook - 2015-02-17 21:11

    He left on May 24. Her birthday in somewhere in June. It's STILL "shortly before her 13th birthday even if it happened on 1 May or in April.

      Frank - 2015-02-17 21:48

      cook, desperately clutching at anything to reinforce her belief that the man is guilty. She told all the other ladies at tea today, that she "new" the truth.

  • Walter Kohlhöfer - 2015-02-17 21:13

    If it really happened, the parents are a shocking bunch for ignoring it

  • Riaan Van Der Walt - 2015-02-17 22:48

    They should have opened their mouths when this happened not wait 20 years I'm afraid it's too late now and their evidence and case will never be strong enough, besides I don't think he did it anyway and even if he did why didn't they say anything?

      Marlene Black - 2015-02-18 07:19

      She did open her mouth when it happened, but her parents ignored her.

      Wendy Anne Cox - 2015-02-19 07:35

      Riaan did you watch Rob Moore on sunday night i think you will change your view

  • Louwrens C Stassen - 2015-02-17 22:52

    She needs psychological help.

      Frank - 2015-02-18 07:48

      johnson, when you mention "stupid people" here. Are you talking about your mommy and daddy who raised a know it all ?

      Jayden Bango - 2015-02-18 08:20

      Johnny where is the evidence this late

  • arthur.salvado - 2015-02-18 07:23

    It happened (?) so very long ago that it becomes too easy to cast doubt. He will walk but just maybe there's some truth to it all. Sick world we live in

      Frank - 2015-02-18 08:21

      Yeh right sick world we live in when people have already made a judgment call before the court has pronounced on the case.

  • Landi Cordier - 2015-02-18 07:51

    Glibberige bliksem!

  • Delano Els - 2015-02-18 09:47

    It really is quite simple. I say let him loose. Why does it take YEARS and YEARS for this attention seeking, pathetic girl to come out. They want money. There really should be a statue of limitation put onto offences like these. Rape is serious yes...don't get wrong...but it also does not take years to come out and tell your story.

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